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The emerging class-consciousness of the 'Barstool Conservatives'

The "Barstool Conservatives" are simultaneously vilified and voiceless. That might soon change, as a new class consciousness emerges.

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Sumantra Maitra Nottingham UK
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The "Barstool Conservatives" are simultaneously vilified and voiceless. That might soon change, as a new class consciousness emerges.

What if there is a conservative underground movement, one which is not hung up on the battles of the past, but one which is also simultaneously swelling and leaderless, and potentially the backbone of any future conservatism; a movement that lacks both the social-conservative and religious prudery, as well as the free-market dogma and skullduggery of the bow-tied class?

This is not qualitatively similar to the alt-right analysis of Angela Nagle, for example, where she elaborated on the radicalization of a very minimal section of virtual and anonymous males. This is a broader, more diffused phenomenon, by a group of people at once vilified and voiceless. Matthew Walther calls them the "Barstool Conservatives," and has written what might be considered a first attempt to classify this future movement.

The most important sentence in Matthew Walther's perceptive essay "Rise of the Barstool conservatives" was about Trump instinctively understanding the real fault lines of the future, to use a Huntingtonian phrase.

Walther writes: "What Trump recognized was that there are millions of Americans who do not oppose or even care about abortion or same-sex marriage, much less stem-cell research or any of the other causes that had animated traditional social conservatives. Instead he correctly intuited that the new culture war would be fought over very different (and more nebulous) issues: vague concerns about political correctness and 'SJWs,' opposition to the popularization of so-called critical race theory, sentimentality about the American flag and the military, the rights of male undergraduates to engage in fornication while intoxicated without fear of the Title IX mafia."

This is important, as analysis of a war is important for deciding a strategy of battle. What is Barstool Conservatism? Walther writes that it might be the future. The idea that future conservatism won't be highbrow, but a mishmash of multi-ethnic, primarily male reaction against an order where they are at the losing end.

The disparate movement will be much larger a coalition than the tea-party could ever achieve, geographically diffused and dispersed, young, enthusiastic, and biologically male. "It will also, I suspect, be more racially diverse, much like the portion of the electorate that gave Trump 74 million votes in 2020." This potential movement, named after Dave Portnoy, the founder of the self-consciously ironic Barstool Sports, essentially will reflect the world view of millions of Americans, "who share his disdain for the language of liberal improvement, the hectoring, schoolmarmish attitude of Democratic politicians and their allies in the media, and, above all, the elevation of risk-aversion to the level of a first-order principle by our professional classes."

This is fundamentally true. Anyone who has spent time in the fringes of social media will know what a potent, massive and leaderless force this is. Surprisingly difficult to characterize, because we are trying to characterize them from the vantage point of modern classifications. These people are mostly well educated and tech-savvy, knowledgeable about current affairs, global events, and effective with coordinated and ironic self-deprecating meme-wars. They have regular jobs, and hence post anonymously. They know the cost of losing jobs due to a coordinated and school-marmish hyper-feminized superstructure ratting on their life and career. They have a distinct, if rudimentary understanding and appreciation of western culture and civilizational patrimony, much more than the self-loathing nonsense spouted at the official indoctrination centers in schools and universities.

They instinctively recognize objective beauty, in old European art and architecture, and hence loathe anything modernist. They have no leadership, no privateers are recruiting them for territorial conquest; post-modern churches are not interested in providing leadership or teaching history, regardless of how many thousand Deus Vult memes are shared on twitter.

In an era of institutional and mainstream memory-holing, these guys are amateur sleuths, archiving and documenting historical elite failure for posterity, just look at the twitter accounts archiving the Covid failures from a year back. They find sea-shanties instinctively soothing, a primal call to an era of adventure, in a domain which still hasn't been corrupted by various cultural disruptors. And unlike media caricatures, and fringe prejudice notwithstanding, this is a movement which is actually very racially diverse, united in their loathing of what they consider an imposing gynarchy.

The last point is the key. If it ever is institutionalized, it would primarily shape up to be a multiracial male movement. Of all the changes in modern society, this is the least explored. Kevin Williamson in National Review lightly touched upon it. Malcom Kyeyune elaborated on it a bit. But that's about it. For every social movement the birth of a class consciousness is necessary. The need to think together, and more importantly feel the common interests together. Consider the famous scene from "The Dirty Dozen," where Lee Marvin realized that the bunch of criminals he got together had formed a team and cohesion, when they refused to shave with freezing waters. The Barstool Conservatism might therefore be the starting point of a formation of a much-needed class consciousness. This is not just an American thing either. It would be the same in the UK.

Because for all the chattering nonsense, ultimately politics is about social power and position. And every movement is defined by what they oppose. What the Barstool Conservatives stand opposed to is ultimately a stifling social-justice dogma and upper-middle class HR manager politics of shaming. The battle ground is cultural, not religious or economic. It is as stifling and totalitarian as any previous totalitarian force, regardless of the weepy "be kind" nonsense.

If a whole section of men are simply vilified for being men and acting like men, it's only a matter of time that they would develop a class consciousness of their own. This is different than the toxic men's rights movements, which are fundamentally narrow and mediocre in nature. This is a much broader issue, which is related to the structure of society and the norms around us, regarding manners, behavior, and freedom of speech and ownership.

This is also about jobs. The paradox of modern liberalism and feminism is that they claim to be simultaneously weak and vulnerable, while demanding power and respect. And they achieve that due to coordinated projection of strength and unity. All the "cancellations" are therefore attempts to sideline ideological and economic rivals, through coordinated means, whether in media, academia, or in politics and positions of power. The reaction to that would naturally be a formation of a counter unifying movement.

Walther is correct in pointing out that. The rest, think tanks, policy frameworks, petitions, voting-blocs, protests, coordinated-action, social media groups, elections, funding, positions of power, legislation and changes, are simply a matter of time and effort. The Barstool Conservatives are well educated and smart, forming a leadership and writing policies might not be an issue stopping them.

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